Friday, November 30, 2012


Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

When I was in grad school right about the turn of the century (now I feel old), I took a semester long mindfulness-based stress reduction course based on the book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  This course changed my life!

If we breathe, we live.  If we don't, we die.  Of course, that is an obvious notion to most of us.  However, many of us have no clue how to actually breathe on a day-to-day basis.  That is, we are usually 'chest breathers'.  Chest breathing is very shallow breathing.  A 'correct' breath goes in through the nose and out through the mouth while the stomach pushes out during the inhale and comes back in during the exhale.  Also, it is best to keep one's shoulders relaxed and down during the duration of the breathing action.  Try it now.  (Insert Jeopardy theme song here).

Notice a difference?  You should feel more centered.  The full breath from the diaphragm/stomach area is way more helpful than from the chest.  Breathing is essential to stay alive but it is also essential to navigate recovery from alcohol and drugs. 

Many times in your recovery, things will not go as planned.  You will be upset, angry, frustrated, sad, bored, and resentful.  The question is how to do you get out of those strong emotions without deciding to use alcohol or drugs?  The answer: breathing.  

The practice of deep breathing helps you learn to notice what your body feels like when it is 'centered' or relaxed.  As you acclimate yourself to this state of being, you begin to crave being in that state.  Therefore, when you are not in a state of relaxation, you will notice it.  Hopefully, then you will decide to engage in deep breathing so you can re-enter a state of relaxation and avoid using drugs and alcohol.  

Breathing is so natural.  It is involuntary.  However, choosing to voluntarily breathe deeply is not easy.  It will take practice but it is worth it.  See if you can take 10 minutes a day and sit quietly by yourself away from any distractions and work on your deep breathing.  See if you don't feel more relaxed, centered, and clear when you are finished.  Then pay attention to the problems that faced you before the deep breathing exercise and see how your perspective may have changed from your deep breathing.  I think it will!  

At The Coleman Institute, we specialize in helping people get clean clean and stay clean from alcohol and drugs. Our goal is to help you relax, get help, and breath normally as they transition to a new life that is chemical free.  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiatesalcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitant to call Jennifer Pius at 1-877-77-DETOX (33869).  Help, hope and healing begin here!

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